On February 20, the NWS Climate Prediction Center released their new outlooks for March and beyond. Below are the maps for March, spring (March to May), and summer (June to August).
The overall theme for Illinois is an increased chance of above-average temperatures through August. We have an increased chance of above-average precipitation in the March-May period, followed by equal chances in the June-August period. If it pans out, above-average precipitation for this spring should help with low water levels on both the Great Lakes and Mississippi River as well as alleviate drought concerns in northern Illinois.
If you are wondering when was the last time we had a spring that was both warmer and wetter than average, you do not have to look very far. The springs of 2004, 2006, 2009, 2010, and 2011 all qualified as having both above average on precipitation and temperature. In fact, our spring temperatures in Illinois have been at or above average in all but 2 years since 1998 (last figure).